Maybe it’s my version of pouting because I don’t get to have what I want in life. Maybe it’s because I’m stubborn and only want things my way. Maybe it’s for legit reasons that might involve this thing called, “grief.” Or maybe it’s because we almost accidentally burned someone’s house down last year. Whatever the reason that I’m not admitting to, I will say that this year, for the first year of my entire existence, I’m not really looking forward to the 4th of July. I want to be a Scrooge.
It’s not the fireworks that bother me. I mean, it’s fire that shoots into the air! It’s the fact that, as a family the 4th of July has always held our biggest traditions. My favorite and most random traditions are part of the 4th; We always go to the Creswell parade. We always make last-minute plans on what food to prepare for a family dinner. There’s always lots of laughter. We always have firework time as a family…
Dad always has the garage ready and waiting for our arrival. He always has a table set up with a small light so we can see our firework selection, but not disrupt the show with invasive garage lights. Dad always has the hose on standby, ran out to the curb, ready for anything that might happen. Dad always has his metal, 5 gallon bucket full of water, ready for the burned out fireworks to be safely disposed of.
But it wont be the same this year. Not even close.
First of all, there will be no repeating last year’s fiasco. No accidental fires, no calling 911. Nope, not gonna happen. Secondly, and most painful to acknowledge is… My dad who was always ready… He’s not going to be here for this years show. We have to fend for ourselves, do what he taught us. Which the doing part isn’t the biggest deal, though. It’s the thought of celebrating without him. Not hearing him laugh when the parade takes a turn for the worse. It’s the thought of not glancing over and seeing him grin at the reactions of his grandsons when they witness their favorite fireworks. It’s just not going to be the same.
I just want to skip the 4th this year. Or so I kept telling myself.
But then John Wayne had to kick my ass and tell me to get over my pitiful attitude. It figures it would take no one less than the Duke to accomplish this feat. And it’s all too appropriate, considering he was one of my dad’s favorite actors, ever.
I randomly came across a quote by John Wayne that really struck a chord with me…
“Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.”
Dad would remind me to keep this attitude growing up, constantly telling me that I’ve just gotta get back in the saddle. And he knew all about that in both the literal & metaphorical sense, as he spent years working with and showing horses. Life is tough, keep on trying. Persevere. Don’t give up. You can do anything. Don’t lose hope. All things my dad instilled in me from a young age, always easier to talk about, not as easy to practice.
This week leading up to July, my attitude hasn’t been close to what dad encouraged in me. I’ve been sad. I’ve moped. I’ve been scared, or rather, anxious. “How will I face tomorrow? How will I handle the 4th?” Time will only tell. But I can’t quit, can’t opt out. I’ve got to get back up in that saddle and ride on.
I would apologize for my attitude, for the misery I’ve probably emanated, but I can’t. Not for this. Not today. These feelings, painful to admit to and even more painful to experience, are part of my life.
Also, John Wayne discouraged apologies. Typically, I would be prone to disagree with him about this, but I’ll let him have one more win for today.
“Never say sorry, it’s a sign of weakness.” -John Wayne
What are some of your favorite movie quotes?